Copying and pasting code without proper attribution is unfortunately a common occurrence in software development. Code plagiarism not only violates ethical standards but can also lead to legal issues down the road.
Thankfully, there are a number of online tools available to check whether your code contains plagiarized content. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the top services for detecting copied code.
Before jumping into the available tools, it's important to understand what code plagiarism is and why running checks for copied content is so critical in software projects.
Code plagiarism refers to using someone else's code in your own project without proper attribution. This includes copying blocks of code from online sources like Stack Overflow as well as repurposing code from other projects you have access to.
There are a few key reasons why code plagiarism detection is important:
The bottom line is that attributing code properly is the right thing to do. Online plagiarism checkers make the process easy, so there's no excuse not to run code through a plagiarism detector before use. Learn how to check code for plagiarism
Now that you understand the basics, here is a rundown of the best online tools available for spotting copied code:
Moss is one of the first services created specifically for code plagiarism detection for multiple programming languages like C, C++, Java, Python, and more. It was designed by Stanford professor Alex Aiken to check code submissions from computer science students.
The Moss service works by analyzing code for shared sequences of code that are unlikely to occur by chance. The shared matches represent potential sources of plagiarism.
Moss offers both an online web interface and command line access.
The web interface lets you quickly upload code files for analysis while the command line client allows automated batch processing. Results are presented with highlighted segments showing matched code between different submissions.
Overall, Moss is one of the most mature and accurate services available for spotting copied code for common programming languages. The web interface does limit you to only 25 code submissions at a time unless you request access to more from the Moss team.
SEOToolsPark offers a generalized plagiarism checker that supports code across over 60 languages. In addition to detecting copied text, you can upload code files or paste code snippets directly into the web editor for analysis.
The service matches your code against a large database of online sources to identify levels of similarity. The results show exact matches as well as paraphrased code reuse. You can also scan open source codebases with PlagiarismChecker to check for proper attribution.
For code plagiarism checking, PlagiarismChecker offers a couple of key advantages:
The drawback is that the Plagiarism checker is not focused specifically on code, so the results may not be as robust as a dedicated programming plagiarism checker. But it provides a solid option for general code plagiarism detection across many languages.
The tool matches code submissions against a database of public code samples found across the web. This allows CodeCheckr to identify blocks as well as semantic code similarities that may indicate plagiarism.
CodeCheckr offers a bulk upload feature that allows you to check up to 100 code submissions simultaneously with flexible configuration options. Results are presented in an intuitive web interface with match highlighting and coverage percentages to pinpoint high-similarity regions.
Overall, CodeCheckr provides a fast, automated way to detect potential code plagiarism from both online sources as well as matching similarity between bulk uploads. It's among the most advanced solutions available specifically focused on spotting copied programming code.
Plagiarisma offers a free online plagiarism checker that supports code plagiarism detection across a wide variety of programming languages. The tool allows you to upload multiple code files or paste code excerpts for analysis.
The results highlight the percentage of copied code and link back to potential original sources online. Plagiarisma leverages syntax analysis to understand code structure and identify similarity matches rather than relying on simple text comparison.
In terms of functionality, Plagiarisma provides a simple yet capable code plagiarism checker covering many common development languages. The ease of use and support for multiple file uploads make Plagiarisma a solid basic option for identifying copied code.
PlagScan is another generalized plagiarism detection tool that offers support for code similarity checking across a wide range of programming languages. It offers both free and paid plans to suit different use cases.
PlagScan's code-checking capability allows for file uploads as well as pasting code excerpts into an online editor. The smart matching algorithms go beyond verbatim copying to identify semantic similarities in code structure and programming logic.
The service delivers fast online results showing the percentage of code copied along with links to potential original sources where matches occur. The PlagScan API also allows for easy integration into developer workflows and automation.
For those looking for code plagiarism detection across many languages beyond just Java and Python, PlagScan is a versatile option to consider. The combination of language support, flexible analysis, and automation makes PlagScan a compelling plagiarism checker for code reuse scenarios.
A) The main consequences of plagiarizing code are ethical, legal, and reputational. Using someone else's code without proper attribution violates ethical principles of crediting work, can lead to copyright disputes, and damages your reputation as a software developer. These impacts make checking for code plagiarism critical.
A) If your code plagiarism checker identifies strongly matching content from an online source or another submission, you should first verify the flagged code. If it is indeed used without attribution, you must properly credit the original content with citations before using it further. This protects you legally and ethically.
A) Yes, many code plagiarism checkers like Moss and CodeCheckr provide APIs or command line interfaces to automate submission and analysis. This allows checking code plagiarism as a standard part of your development workflow across projects and codebases.
A) The most advanced tools utilize smart matching algorithms beyond verbatim string comparisons to identify semantic similarities in code structure and programming logic. This allows the top services to catch instances of plagiarism even if the code has been paraphrased or lightly edited rather than directly copied.
Copying code without attribution seriously harms your reputation as a software developer. It can also open you up to legal troubles down the road. Thankfully, online services make checking source code plagiarism a breeze before releasing any projects.
The automated tools highlighted in this guide allow you to easily spot copied code from online sources as well as identify reuse between code submissions. Taking advantage of plagiarism checkers will ensure you always properly credit work and keep your projects free of ethical or legal concerns.